Great white shark 'protected' status questioned

Beaches remained closed on Sunday along Australia's west coast after a fatal shark attack that has reignited debate over whether great whites should remain a protected species.

Surfer Benjamin Linden, 24, was bitten in half in a savage attack on Saturday, the fifth such fatality in the region in less than a year.

He was surfing near Wedge Island, north of Perth, with a friend when he was mauled by the huge shark, said to be up to five metres (16 feet) long.

A man jet-skiing near him said it was a gruesome scene, with "half a torso" all that remained of Linden.

Surfers said they had noticed a large shark in the vicinity in the previous few days and nicknamed it "Brutus" due to its large size.

Local marine scientists have described Australia's west coast as the deadliest shark attack zone in the world and Western Australia Fisheries Minister Norman Moore expressed concern at the trend of fatalities.

"We have allocated some Aus$14 million ($14 million) extra to get a better understanding of the great white sharks and the reasons why the fatalities are occurring," he told reporters.

"I wonder if research might tell us that there are now much greater number of great whites than ever before, and maybe we should look at whether they should remain a protected species.

"This is a very distressing event and to add to the previous four fatalities, it is of great concern to me and to the fisheries department, indeed the government as a whole."

A tagging and tracking programme was introduced last year and has shown the animals, which have no predators other than humans, whales and other sharks, can linger off Australia's west coast for months at a time.

Moore said he was open to "any suggestions from anybody as to where we go to now, because we seriously have got a problem".

After the last fatal attack in March, state premier Colin Barnett ruled out a culling programme, saying it was impossible to protect all people at all times.

"While it's still a rare occurrence, the ocean is the domain of the shark and we go there with a risk always," he said at the time.

Sharks are a common feature of Australian waters but fatal attacks are rare.

Experts say the average number of attacks in Australia -- about 15 a year, with at least one being fatal -- have increased in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.

Linden's girlfriend Alana Noakes posted a tribute to him on Facebook.

"I'm devastated to let everyone know that my beautiful man... was the surfer who was taken by the shark at Wedge," she said.

"He was the love of my life, my best friend, my rock and my soulmate.

"Let's remember that he was doing something that meant the world to him. Surfing was his soul, his life, his culture and his passion."

Western Australian waters are home to more than 100 species of shark, according to the state fisheries department, ranging in size from the pygmy shark at just 30 centimetres, to the whale shark that grows up to 12 metres.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island on Wednesday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns

    BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine ... …

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options